36 answers

12 Month Old Refuses to Eat Solids Just Wants Formula

Hello all, I am having a real struggle to get my 12 month old to eat pureed or solid foods. I have tried all brands and types and he only grazes very lightly and then refuses to eat anymore. I sit him in his high chair for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and provide an a.m. and p.m. snack. All my friends and family tell me that he should be eating more. I have talked to his pediatrician and she told me to just keep trying. Right now he takes about 6- 4 oz bottles a day.

Any suggestions or feedback from moms who have gone through the same would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all your wonderful responses! I cut back on the formula as several moms suggested and substituted whole milk instead and it worked! He now eats whatever we're eating and he loves finger foods from the Gerber Toddler line. He's not eating tons of food but his appetite has increased substantially. You all are the BEST!

Featured Answers

I agree that you shouldn't push it. He'll come around when he's ready. Just keep offering it. DD prefers to graze instead of being cooped up in her high chair, so maybe try to feed him in different locations than the high chair?

2 moms found this helpful

My friends 12mo old has the same issue.
Her pediatrician (who wrote some kind of 411 book for babies) said give him less milk and he will eat more.

1 mom found this helpful

HAve you tried toddler types of food? If he still doesn't want it then just gove him what he wants! His body will tell him when to have his veggies and fruits.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I agree that you shouldn't push it. He'll come around when he's ready. Just keep offering it. DD prefers to graze instead of being cooped up in her high chair, so maybe try to feed him in different locations than the high chair?

2 moms found this helpful

Hello M.,
Some babies don’t seem to take a liking to store-bought baby food. I have been successful with two different methods to make the change from an all liquid diet to pureed or solid foods easier. Method one: I added some of the (store-bought or home-made) baby puree to the bottle with the formula. Shake gently until well mixed with the milk. Also make sure, that the hole of the nipple is the right size (just big enough for the mixture to pass through). Method two: Steam fresh or frozen veggies in a steamer and puree with baby mixer or handheld puree appliance. Good luck with it! E.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter was similar. A solution working for me was a special bottle - it was short and stubby, wider around then a standard sized one. It had a special nipple with an "X" criss cross sliced at the top instead of the normal dot and specifically was for baby food. I started with forumla mixed with baby food deyhydrated cereal flakes. I gradually thickened it while extending it with baby food mixed in. This was 16 yrs ago but I did have this problem and this solved it. Once she adjusted to the texture, we graduated to the spoon.

If this doesnt go over as well at first, you could consider temporarily including something sweet like applesauce to sweeten the introduction. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the others- try finger foods! He might prefer to feed himself. He might have a problem swallowing food or a problem with the textures (I have a friend whose son is almost two and still not eating) You might want to make an apt with your local early Childhood Intervention and see what they think. If it's a sensitivity to textures that can be helped with therapy (and ECI is generally free!)

S. (mom to four girls, two sensory sensitive.)

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds fairly normal to me. About two jars at each meal. Have you started offering him solid food from the table? He might be more interested in what the grownups are eating. Fresh fruits, steamed veggies, whole grain breads, real meats, chicken, pork or beef were on my little ones diet in small proportions when they quit babyfood. Until he is off the formula, he is getting the nutirents he needs from it. Relax a little more and make mealtime fun, he can tell when you are upset and that could make him want to eat less.

One one last note, he might just be a picky eater and that is ok too. I have a 25 year old cousin who still lives off of bread, pasta, and potatoes. Really, that is ALL she will eat. No fruit, no veggies, no meat. She is healthy and expecting her first child. He knows what he likes, he knows what he wants and there is not a lot more than offering choices that can even help.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.! My now 13 year old was the same way. We tried offering food to him but he really only wanted his bottle. As long as your son is growing and "thriving" then I wouldn't worry about it. Even on only formula, my son was in the 100th percentile on weight and height. I have an 8 month old son now, who is not really eating all that much food either and like you my family and friends keep telling me the same thing. I wouldn't worry until your doctor starts to worry. Just keep trying and remember that he is getting all the nutrients that he needs from the formula.

Jen

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with Valerie, start giving him some finger food that he can feed himself with. Both my boys stopped wanting the baby food around their first birthday and would only self feed or eat what we eat.

Also remember that their appetite slows down a little bit now. You will probably find that some days he'll eat a ton and others he will just eat a little. That is fine, it's what they eat over several days that counts, not each day alone. Also remember, it doesn't take much for little ones to get what they need. Offer him good food before he get the bottle or sippy cup and he will eat when he is hungry!!

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

My pedi told me at my sons 1 year visit that he might not eat nearly as much as he was. To just try to feed him as normal and let him eat just as much as he does. Not to try to force more. She also stressed to not suplement with bottles or milk. To give him his normal intake of milk. 2 - 8 oz bottles a day, with water and juice with snacks. Both my kids are grazers. One is 10 and never sick, good weight, very healthy. The other is 13 months and everyone thinks he is 2. He has never been sick really. Just the sniffles. They will grow out of it. Just let him eat how he wants. It's normal at this age.

1 mom found this helpful

Are you offering him baby food or mashed up table food? My son never liked baby food. It wasn't until I started offering him whatever I was eating, cut or mashed up, that he started to take to it. As long as you aren't eating anything REALLY spicy or whatever, he should be able to eat whatever you are. Think about it, in most cultures they don't have special premade baby food (keep wanting to type goo!) like we have here.

I was also still breastfeeding at that point and he was getting the tastes of different foods through my milk.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 2 and never really liked baby food, unless his sister (who is 22 months older than him) was feeding him! Talk about a mess, but he did like to eat off my plate. He liked to eat what we were eating and my pedi told us he could eat anything we were eating. This was so different from my daughter who loved to eat and ate enough through all the stages to feed an army and was always in the 25th to lower percentile for weight! So...we just kept at it and served him exactly what we were eating and he eventually started to eat more. He has never been the eater my daughter is, but is healthy and strong and growing fine.
Good luck!
A.

1 mom found this helpful

cut back on the bottles and he'll start to eat more real food.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 13.5 months old and he still refuses to eat solids too. The most he'll eat is half a gold fish or part of a cheerio. He won't eat anything that is delivered on a spoon. I don't have a solution for you. I just wanted to commiserate. It was a lot of fun when family descended for Christmas, let me tell you. Everyone was sure that he'd eat for them, and I was at least proud of him for not giving in for them when he won't eat for me! I figure he'll eat someday and all I can do is wait for him to be ready. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like he could have sensory issues. Google sensory integration and call Cildrens house Baylor for an evaluation. I would start YOUNG . They can help you decide if its the textures of the food he doesn't like or something else.
L.

1 mom found this helpful

I would definitely start cutting back on the bottles so he will be a little hungrier and eat food. Try giving him foods he can feed himself... even if it gets messy! My son turned spaghetti into a finger food! Anyway, try that and limit his juice intake or skip that all together. It fills them up just like formula does and it has a lot of sugar (even 100% juice). Try not offering him the bottle until after he has eaten. Praise him when he does get a bite down. If you keep having trouble, I would take him to an ENT and have him check his swalling. Sometimes kids won't eat food because they have trouble swallowing or have a bad gag reflex. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,
This is my advice: He's only 12 months old. If you think about what babies ate 200 years ago, they breast fed until they were 2 or 3. I know it's our culture to start feeding solid foods around 6 months, but each child is different and each theory on what your child should be doing is different. So I would do what your baby wants. My son wanted his bottle until he was about 18 months old but my daughter stopped drinking formula and skipped baby food at 9 months! She only wanted table food and my MD told me that I should keep her on formula and baby food. She gagged and wouldn't eat when I tried to give her that stuff. So we skipped the baby food and I did what she wanted and eating time was so much easier. If you feel the need to give him table food and you know what kind of foods he likes try the book "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron. It was my kitchen bible for my daughter since she started so early. It has alot of good advice. It cost around $15. I give this book to all my friends when they have babies. It makes life a little easier.
I hope you find a happy medium between your son and your MD. Good luck!
-S.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello! I am a SAHM of a 3 yr old and 10 month old. Neither one of mine kiddos liked baby food. They were much happier eating a smashed up version of what ever was on my plate! Maybe give that a try. Baby food is very bland. Even my kids baby cereal I flavored with a little vanilla and brown sugar. Chances are if it does'nt taste good to you it does'nt taste good to your baby. Also, with my oldest I had to offer her the food without the option of nini (she was breast fed). They will eat when hungry. When it boils down to it follow your instincts mom!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.! Formula is fine by itself. MOre than likely he is getting plenty or he would be fussy all time. They make formula to feed kids up to 24 months old. I am not saying this is all he needs til then, but for now if you know he is growing good and acting like he feels ok, then no need to panic. Maybe you should speak with the doc on his next visit and just see what else you can do. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried regular food? None of my kids really liked baby food. I tried but they really pereferred what we were eating. Mashed potatoes, mashed bananas, mashed veggies I even bought a small food grinder they cost about $10 you can find them at Target Walmart and even most large grocery stores. I would just grind up whatever we were eating.

Also some kids (all my kids) don't eat very much Even now I am amazed at how little my kids eat. About 1 tablespoon of each basic food group per meal/snack.

1 mom found this helpful

M.,
It sounds like you might be feeding him too often. He should be able to go 3 to 4 hours between feedings. I feed my twins at 6:30 (bottle supplemented with food), 10:30 or 11:00 (food first, then bottle), light snack at around 1:00, 2:30 or 3:00 (just bottle), dinner at 5:15 or 5:30, then a bottle before bed at about 7:15. They eat more in the afternoons with the idea of getting them full to sleep through the night. They ahd their first birthday yesterday, and they have about 7 oz of formula 4 times a day, plus their food. I'd spread the feedings out for your little guy - he may just be grazing and not really getting hungry between feeds. Hope that helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe he would be interested in eatting the same foods that you eat. By 12 months both my daughter and my 18 month old had been eatting table food for a while. My son started eatting baby food around 5 months and by the time he was 7 months old, he absolutely refused any pureed baby foods because he wanted what we were having. All kiddos are different and I would imagine that as long as he is at a normal weight for his age it shouldn't be a problem right now. Sometimes you have to try giving them something several times before they will accept it.

Good luck and hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful

HAve you tried toddler types of food? If he still doesn't want it then just gove him what he wants! His body will tell him when to have his veggies and fruits.

1 mom found this helpful

My mom had this problem with my brother. He is very strong willed and didn't want anyone to feed him. She couldn't figure out why he wouldn't eat! She would get the food in his mouth and then he would lean over and spit it out.

So, one day the doctor told her to let him feed himself. That was it! He wanted to feed himself...try that! HTH

1 mom found this helpful

I can totally understand how frustrated you must be. My baby is not a year old yet, but it too has been a struggle to feed her solid food. She would clamp her mouth shut and refuse to eat as soon as I got her into her high chair. I would have to trick her to opening her mouth, and if I was lucky enough to get some food into her mouth, she would cry and sometimes gag on the food. A couple of times, she has even thrown up everything that I have given her. Needless to say, our feeding times have been more like torture sessions and I often wanted to cry with her.

I would often give up after 5 minutes and nurse her, so she learned that she would not have to eat solids if she cried.

My baby's pediatrician was less than thrilled at the situation, and suggested that I attempt to feed her solids 3 times a day (I had only been doing 1 time a day). Three times seemed a bit much, so I decided that I would try 2 times a day, and that the torture sessions would last 15 minutes (instead of me giving up after 5 minutes). The first two days were the worst. She cried and cried as soon as I put her in the high chair and 15 minutes seemed like a hour to me. She learned quickly that the torture session would not end if she started crying and kind of stated opening her mouth a little (really only because she was screaming), but then she would hold the food in her mouth. Then I figured out that she liked drinking out of straws, so I would trick her into swallowing by giving her a straw with a little water. This made both of us happy, and I tried to make our feeding sessions more fun for her.

I made silly sounds, and cheered when she opened her mouth with out having to trick her. I tried to give her some positive reinforcement. Well, it is now less than a month later and she accepts solids more and gags less. Our feeding sessions are no longer torture sessions and she doesn't cry as soon as I put her in her high chair.

Well every child is different, and I am not sure my experience will help you, but I wish you a lot of luck.

T.

1 mom found this helpful

How healthy is he? Is he normally active? Not sick much? Then don't force him to eat. All healthy kids will eat as much as they need and not more unless they're forced to.

He'll eat solid foods when he's ready.

1 mom found this helpful

My friends 12mo old has the same issue.
Her pediatrician (who wrote some kind of 411 book for babies) said give him less milk and he will eat more.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi!
I am not sure what your situation is (every baby is different) but my pediatrition told me to start weaning the bottle and formula at 12 months. To be honest, I didnt wean, I just took it away (ripped it off like a bandaid). My son was the same way, he LOVED his bottle. He knew where I kept them and would point to the cubbard when he wanted one which made it impossible to wean. Maybe if your son realizes the bottle is no longer available he will start eating. Maybe keep one bottle for before bed. I did that for a while. Then I switched that one to a sippy cup and he lost interest. For me it was about 2 days until he forgot about the bottle. I just kept him really busy outside of the house to keep him distracted.

Again, what works for one baby may not work for another. This is what I did and hopefully it will be good for you too.

A.
SAHM with a 15 month old son.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter will turn one in two weeks. She, too, has never been a big fan of the solids. I've tried everything. And if youre like me, youve tried every brand, mixed with cereal, mixed w/out cereal, youve tried them warm, youve tried them cool....I could go on and on , right? Here is the answer.Dont push it!!! I, too, had a family that said,"oh, you have GOT to feed her!" NO YOU DONT!!! As long as he is healthy and a good weight, he is fine. Dont you know, the minute I quit pushing it, that was the minute she got interested? I will have to say that she eats what Dad and I eat. Doesnt much care for baby food. I have also found that she eats the most whenever she picks the food up herself. She will walk around with a biter biscuit for a 1/2 hour and eat the whole thing. God forbid you should try and take it away. I also dont agree with the "take away a bottle" idea. Hes a baby!!!! He'll be eating like a horse before you know it. Not all babies hit milestones at the same time. My 11.5 month old has been walking, unassisted, since she was 10.5 months, yet, will not eat solids. There is just no ryhme or reason to these little people!!! And thats my point, they are people!!!!
Good luck to ya'!!!
M. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Go ahead and try some "real" foods instead of baby food or pureed. Cut up bananas, avacados, Gerber puffs, small pieces of bread (as long as there is no allergy problem), small cubes of cheese....anything he can pick up and feed himself. I'm not sure if you've tried this, but sometimes if they can feed themselves, they are more likely to try stuff. It's true that it will happen slowly and you need to just keep trying. Maybe cut out the bottle for that meal (one at a time). If he's hungry enough, he will eat. He may be holding out for the "good stuff".

Best of luck! The one thing we can't do is force them to eat, so don't turn it into a battle either. Just put the food in front of him and if he doesn't eat it, then let him down and try again later if he is hungry again. Taking away the bottle...maybe starting with lunch, may jump start the eating since he won't have anything else to fill him up. Just put some milk in a cup (or water) and let him drink from that.

1 mom found this helpful

I would try cutting down on his milk. This will help increase his intake - I bet he just isn't hungry - I would try this 1st before taking other drastic measures. Hope this helps.

does he have teeth yet? If so try giving him soft foods instead of the puree, like bananas, peices of noodles, peas, ect. But, I agree that the formula is prob just filling him up, try cutting down to only using the bottle around bed or nap times.

Hi there, My advise is to contact your local ECI program (early childhood intervention) and have them send an OT occupational therapist) out for an evaluation. If he qualifies you can receive free services (based on income) to do Feeding therapy to help him learn to eat foods. He may have a sensory issue and the textures may bother him and this wont get better with out feeding therapy. It can take up to 2 months to get in the program so call right away. Make sure to tell them that your baby does not eat any solids and he is 12 months and refuses solids then they should get his evaluation done quick.

If you choose not to do this, our children's house at Baylor Dallas and Allen have Ot'S and feeding therapy programs you could use but your insurance may not cover it and ECI is very low cost and often free but is only for children under the age of 3.

Good luck- APri J

Oh HONEY--- I am having the same problem!!!!! I will read all your replies, and advice given to you.... Help!!! I have a 10 mo. old boy, in LOVE with the bottle, and won't touch any type of foods..... I thought I was the only one!!!! ha ha.......... Good luck to you Sweetie! ____@____.com J. and Baby Jacob.

Does he also drink other things, like water and juice? I wonder if he is thirsty, and that makes me think his blood sugar level should be checked, especially if there are other diabetics in the family. If the blood sugar is high, it spills over into the urine, which irritates the bladder, causing excess urination, which causes excessive thirst. Type 2 diabetes, which used to be called adult-onset diabetes, is showing up in very young children nowadays. Type 2 means when you eat, you produce insulin, but your tisues can't use it properly, so your blood sugar level stays high, so you produce more insulin. It can be controlled by diet, exercise, and a mineral called chromium. Chromium is one of the things they take out of sugar when refining it. Our sugary and starchy diet is making type 2 diabetes more and more common.

Have you tried letting him feed himself? Sometimes a little independence is all they want. Good Luck!!

My friend had this exact problem, except she was nursing so she was really frustrated with the situation!

Her little boy improved when he got some cranio-sacral therapy. This is like a form of massage which can be done by a chiropractor, doctor, or occupational therapist.

Her little boy ate a whole jar of food after their first visit. He had been stuck in the birth canal for more than 2 hours of pushing, and it had caused his cranium to be slightly misshaped. This caused him some discomfort, which made him averse to "chewing" and constantly wanting to nurse to relieve pressure in his head.

It might be worth an evaluation. She went to a chiropractor recommended by our pediatrician: Dr. Adele Kestner. I have also heard amazing things about Dr. Greg Dott. Both are in the phone book - Kestner does not accept insurance, though you could try filing you own claim.

Maybe this could help you too??

Good luck!

6 four ounce bottles a day in a 12 hour day means he's eating every 2 hours so I bet he's not very hungry. Try switching him to a sippy cup--bottles encourage gulping it all down at once. If he is attached to the bottle, save it for naptime. Give drinks in the sippy to him after he eats and before naps. Switch to whole milk now that he is a year--formula might be filling him up too much. If you go out, take water so you don't get off the schedule. Don't do juice because it fills them up too. Basically you are finding a new schedule for his big boy stomach, transitioning him from baby to toddler. If he's grazing, that is good--it means he WILL eat it. I would go straight to solid foods chopped up. Sit down and eat a bit when he eats. Is this time consuming? Yes, but in a few months he will be eating solids much better and it will be a snap. I promise it is just a transition thing. Be diligent and good luck! It worked for me--my kid was hooked on milk! Mom of 3, A.

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